It’s no secret that light is a powerful thing. It determines when we go to bed and when we get up. Without it we can’t read or drive. Very often I hear people say things like, “When the sun comes out it’s like someone flipped a switch on my mood!”
Not long ago I witnessed another great example of the power light has to change lives, and the experience opened my eyes to another simple truth - learned from our chickens!
We were in a cold snap where the outside temp didn’t get above zero for at least a week. During the winter months we have a light in our chicken coop that comes on an about an hour before sunrise and goes off an hour after sundown. When the temp gets consistently below -10 degrees at night I replace that LED bulb with an infrared heat bulb to help warm things up a bit for the hens. The infrared bulb doesn’t give up much light, just heat.
One night I got home late, long after it was dark outside. I always go into the coop to collect the eggs and make sure all the hens are on their roost. And I always count to make sure they’re all “present and accounted for.” We have sixteen hens, and on this night I counted eleven. I have never had such a discrepancy between what should be and what is! I counted again. Eleven. I needed to go out into the chicken "run" that’s attached to the coop and find out what happened. A couple possibilities popped into my mind: Either I’d find five frozen hens, or I’d find a racoon with such a full tummy that it couldn’t move. Thankfully, I found neither!
What I did see was five confused hens underneath the coop (Our coop is a couple feet above the ground, and the girls love to hang out underneath it.) How did I know they were confused? Because each of them had a cartoon bubble over their heads filled with “????s,” of course! ☺ They seemed to be okay, but I could not get them to come out the little door that leads from under the coop into the run. They just stood there under the coop not knowing what to do. And I didn’t know what to do to get them out. I don't fit through their little opening, and I would not crawl under there if I did! So, I went back inside the house to consult with our resident “farm girl,” Violet. Of course, Violet knew what to do. “Just hold a flashlight above the little door and shine the light down in front of the door. They’ll come out.”
Sure enough! One by one, they made their way to the light, coming out from under the coop into the run where I scooped them up and put them into the coop! Violet later told me that, since the infrared bulb doesn’t give off light, those hens didn’t know where to go to get into the coop. (Not sure why the other eleven did, but I can’t read chicken minds.)
That incident reminded me how John in his gospel refers to Jesus as “the light of all mankind,” and that “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” Jesus himself, in one of His seven “I Am” statements, says, “I Am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the Light of life.”
The simple truth is that we are often like our five confused hens, living what can often be a very “dark” world. Sometimes it is a world so dark and cold that we really don’t know which way to turn. In those dark moments we need to follow the chickens’ example and just make our way to the light - the Light that is Jesus. He came into this world to lead us through this dark world and to a place that will be safe for eternity!
Pastor David Dauk